Friday, June 1, 2007

A very important post about.... getting the hell away from all of you

Starting this morning, my wife and I will be celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary in grand style -- going on vacation for five days and four nights to a small Caribbean isle that will remain anonymous. The children will not be accompanying us, as their grandmothers will be here to take care of them.

None of you will be coming either.

So,until my return, here's a few links that should be worthy of comment... in descending order of seriousness:

1) In the next issue of Foreign Affairs, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have articles articulating their foreign policy visions. Go check them out. I'll be particularly curious to see just how much overlap there is between them.

2) Megan McArdle reads the Social Security Trustee Reports so you don't have to -- and in the process addresses the liberal meme of "every day, in every way, Social Security is getting better and better."

3) James Pethokoukis has a nice survey of expert opinions on the extent to which the Chinese and American economies are intertwined, and what a hard landing in Beijing would mean to the United States.

4) ABC had a hard-hitting story on.... appropriate cleavage in the workplace. Best. Topic. Ever. Hat tip: Ann Althouse, who informs us, "Women know what their breasts look like in their clothes. It doesn't just happen. "Breast power" is real. We can pretend we don't know, but we do." I knew I'd been manipulated all these decades.

That is all.

posted by Dan at 07:57 AM | Comments (5) | Trackbacks (0)

Thursday, May 31, 2007

My self-promotion cup runneth over

A few links by or about your humble blogger that I've been remiss in mentioning:

1) In the Fletcher newsletter, Timothy R. Homan profiles me, my blog, and my hatred of cellphones going of in class.

2) I gave a talk about All Politics Is Global at the German Marshall Fund a few weeks ago. Richard Salt wrote it up on GMF's blog. Click here for a brief podcast.

3) In the Chronicle of Higher Education's Chronicle Review section, I have a brief article, "The Power of the State in a Global Economy" which is a precis for All Politics Is Global. Here's how it opens:

When I began working on my latest book, I also began regularly reading a news source greatly undervalued in international relations: The Onion. The timing was serendipitous because I soon stumbled across a mock headline that crystallized one of my central themes: "Correct Theory Discarded in Favor of More Exciting Theory."
This link should be good for a few days.
Well, that should be sufficient overexposure for a few days.

posted by Dan at 10:19 PM | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)

A new global warming initiative, or just more hot air?

The Financial Times' Andrew Ward reports that with the G8 summit approaching, the Bush administration is contemplating a new initiative to combat global warming.

President George W. Bush on Thursday committed the US for the first time to take part in negotiations on a successor to the Kyoto treaty and agreed to set goals for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

The decision appeared to mark a landmark break by Washington from its longstanding opposition to global limits on carbon emissions, although the US plans still fall short of some European demands.

Mr Bush pledged to work with several other large economies, including China and India, to agree a “long-term goal” for reduction in emissions, together with strategies for achieving the target, within 18 months – before he leaves office in January 2009.

An administration official said the US would seek to convene a conference to set the process in motion, possibly as early as this autumn.

The process would complement broader international efforts to agree a replacement for the Kyoto treaty when it expires in 2012, said the official....

The policy shift came less than a week before Mr Bush travels to Germany for the annual G8 meeting of industrialised nations, where climate change is expected to be high on the agenda.

The Washington Post's William Branigin and Juliet Eilperin add more reportage, suggesting that this won't be as big a policy shift as the Europeans would like:
The administration's plan involves cutting tariff barriers to the sharing of environmental technology and holding a series of meetings, starting this fall, on ways to limit greenhouse gas emissions by an agreed amount by about 2050. Bush wants this target to be set by the end of 2008.

The White House made clear, however, that the administration would continue to reject proposals advanced by European nations to deal with global warming through caps on carbon emissions and a global carbon-trading program that would allow countries to meet limits on carbon dioxide levels by buying and selling credits.

"We do not endorse global carbon trading," White House spokeswoman Dana Perino told reporters before Bush's speech.

Here's the key portion from Bush's actual speech:
So my proposal is this: By the end of next year, America and other nations will set a long-term global goal for reducing greenhouse gases.

To help develop this goal, the United States would convene a series of meetings of nations that produced most greenhouse gas emissions, including nations with rapidly growing economies like India and China.

In addition to this long-term global goal, each country would establish mid-term national targets and programs that reflect their own mix of energy sources and future energy needs.

Over the course of the next 18 months, our nations would bring together industry leaders from sectors of our economies, such as power generation and alternative fuels and transportation. These leaders will form working groups that will cooperate on ways to share clean energy technology and best practices.

Will this amount to anything? The Economist is skeptical, observing that, "Even the G8 members that are enthusiastically embracing ambitious targets are struggling to cut their emissions."

I'm also skeptical for reasons I've discussed in the past.

That said, if Bush can even convince China and India to attend this proposed meeting, he'll have achieved a significant political victory. Why? Because by their very attendance, China and India will be implicitly acknowledging that they are part of the global warming problem.

Their other option is to embrace the OxFam solution to the problem, which concludes that, "the USA, European Union, Japan, Canada, and Australia should contribute over 95 per cent of the finance needed. This finance must not be counted towards meeting the UN-agreed target of 0.7 per cent for aid."

I predict that the G8 will agree to this plan at roughly the same time John Bolton is elected to be the Secretary-General of the United Nations.


posted by Dan at 01:39 PM | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)

Not your father's Yankees... or your older brother's, for that matter

At last night's Yankees-Blue Jays game, Alex Rodroguez, on the basepaths, may or may not have yelled "Mine!" during a routine pop-up, leading to an error.

More amusing than whether A-Rod bent the unwritten rules is the reaction of Yankee fans. Exhibit A:

Look, I wish I could offer more lofty sentiments, but let’s be honest. At this point in the Yankees’ season, if getting an actual win requires A-Rod to screw thirteen transvestite prostitutes, on a pile of corked bats, in front of Babe Ruth’s plaque in Monument Park? Fine.

posted by Dan at 01:25 PM | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)

Blogging as an intervening variable for stupidity

Jonathan Saltzman has a front-pager in the Boston Globe about an unusual court case in which blogging factored into the denouement:

It was a Perry Mason moment updated for the Internet age.

As Ivy League-educated pediatrician Robert P. Lindeman sat on the stand in Suffolk Superior Court this month, defending himself in a malpractice suit involving the death of a 12-year-old patient, the opposing counsel startled him with a question.

Was Lindeman Flea?

Flea, jurors in the case didn't know, was the screen name for a blogger who had written often and at length about a trial remarkably similar to the one that was going on in the courtroom that day.

In his blog, Flea had ridiculed the plaintiff's case and the plaintiff's lawyer. He had revealed the defense strategy. He had accused members of the jury of dozing.

With the jury looking on in puzzlement, Lindeman admitted that he was, in fact, Flea.

The next morning, on May 15, he agreed to pay what members of Boston's tight-knit legal community describe as a substantial settlement -- case closed.

The case is a startling illustration of how blogging, already implicated in destroying friendships and ruining job prospects, could interfere in other important arenas. Lawyers in Massachusetts and elsewhere, some of whom downloaded Flea's observations and posted them on their websites, said the case has also prompted them to warn clients that blogs can come back to haunt them.

Still, Andrew C. Meyer Jr., a well known Boston personal injury lawyer who followed the case, said he had never heard of a defendant blogging during a trial.

"Most of us investigate whatever prior writings our clients might have had, so they are not exposed to their inconsistencies in their testimony," said Meyer, who has begun warning clients against the practice. "But it's impossible to do if you don't know that your client is blogging under an assumed name."

Saltzman suggests that thiscase is indicative of how blogs can impact, you know, real life. And there's a grain of truth to this charge. Reading on, however, one begins to wonder if blogs are not the cause per se, but rather one of many enablers for people with poor impulse control:
Lindeman, a graduate of Yale University and Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons, is board-certified in general pediatrics and pediatric pulmonary medicine, according to the Natick Pediatrics website.

In recent years, he has shared his medical views on local television news programs, on the "Manic Mommies" podcast produced by two Ashland mothers, and in magazines.

He is also the author of drfleablog, in which he calls himself Flea and identifies himself only as a pediatrician in the Northeast. A flea, he told the Globe this year, is what surgeons called pediatricians in training. The Globe's medical blog, White Coat Notes, has occasionally included links to Lindeman's blog, which he has recently taken down.

Mulvey, who said she only learned of the blog a couple weeks before the trial, said after reading scores of back postings that it was controversial yet intellectually stimulating.

Over the past year, Lindeman increasingly used it to rail against the malpractice suit....

Shortly before the end of his second day on the witness stand, while focusing on Lindeman's views of a pediatric textbook, Mulvey asked him whether he had a medical blog, she recalled. He said he did. Then she asked him if he was Flea. He said he was.

The exchange may have been lost on jurors, but Meyer said Mulvey had telegraphed that she was ready to share Lindeman's blog -- containing his unvarnished views of lawyers, jurors, and the legal process -- with the jury.

The next day, the case was settled.

So, lessons learned:
1) If you're a defendant in a court case, try not to blog about it;

2) Blogs don't hurt people. Poor impulse control hurts people.

More blog reaction from Suburban Guerilla, Michael Froomkin, and HubBlog.

[Might there be more of a correlation than you're letting on? Perhaps people with poor impulse control are more likely to blog?--ed. There's something to this, but blogs are merely one of many new forms of personal expression available to people. If the blog is not the outlet, perhaps the MySpace page, or the podcast, or the YouTube moment will be. Still, I leave this possibility to commenters -- who clearly have no problems with impulse control.]

posted by Dan at 09:28 AM | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Lou Dobbs is a big fat liar

New York Times economics columnist David Leonhardt does a public service and fact-checks Lou Dobbs. The results are not pretty (a fact that will not surprise longtime readers of

His conclusion:

The most common complaint about him, at least from other journalists, is that his program combines factual reporting with editorializing. But I think this misses the point. Americans, as a rule, are smart enough to handle a program that mixes opinion and facts. The problem with Mr. Dobbs is that he mixes opinion and untruths. He is the heir to the nativist tradition that has long used fiction and conspiracy theories as a weapon against the Irish, the Italians, the Chinese, the Jews and, now, the Mexicans.

There is no denying that this country’s immigration system is broken. But it defies belief — and a whole lot of economic research — to suggest that the problems of the middle class stem from illegal immigrants. Those immigrants, remember, are largely non-English speakers without a high school diploma. They have probably hurt the wages of native-born high school dropouts and made everyone else better off.

More to the point, if Mr. Dobbs’s arguments were really so good, don’t you think he would be able to stick to the facts? And if CNN were serious about being “the most trusted name in news,” as it claims to be, don’t you think it would be big enough to issue an actual correction?

[What if Dobbs relied on political science research instead?--ed.] He would find even less empirical support.

The farm lobby is cracking up, the New York Times is beating up on Lou Dobbs.... oh, I'm going to enjoy this summer.

UPDATE: Dobbs responds to Leonhardt here. As near as I can interpret it, Dobbs concedes the facts but claims Leonhardt is exaggerating their portent. Then there's this puzzler:

[T]he columnist writes that I suggested that new immigration reform bill would be the first step to a North American union. Nope. What I did say is that the proposed legislation, favored by President Bush and Senator Kennedy and others who are misguided, contains language in Section 413 that, if approved by Congress, would endorse and legitimize the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America, which is the foundation of this administration's efforts to create a North American union, and which would further threaten, in my opinion, our national sovereignty.
I checked out the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) of North America's website. The front page has yet to update the fact that Vicente Fox is no longer president of Mexico. A good rule of thumb: organizations with outdated web sites aren't threats to national sovereignty.

Here's a link to the SPP "myths vs. facts" page. If Dobbs is scared by this initiative, then he should really just go and buy his shack in Montana right now -- because there are dozens of other arrangements already on the books where the U.S. has ceded more sovereignty.

I hereby triple-dog-dare Lou Dobbs and his supporters -- name me one provision of the SPP that truly compromises American sovereignty.

David Weigel also has some fun at Dobbs' expense.

posted by Dan at 11:09 PM | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)

Short-shorts, Jello wrestling, and a good word about Tom Friedman

Yes, it's all there on my latest episode, with the Economist's Megan McArdle.

Topics include: MySpace vs. the workplace, our favorite subways, the libertarian preference for president, Hugo Chavez, and unmitigated delight at the farm lobby's demise.

[Ahem, the title promised Jello wrestling and short shorts!!--ed. Oh, those are there -- but you'll have to watch the whole thing to find them.]

The occasional squeaks you will hear in the background? That would be my two-year old daughter, who is 98% cute and 2% pure concentrated evil.

posted by Dan at 12:44 PM | Comments (4) | Trackbacks (0)

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

I'm a bad, bad man....

... for thinking that this picture brings sexy back way better than Justin Timberlake.

posted by Dan at 11:57 PM | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)

An incentive puzzle on education

Via Brad DeLong comes this puzzling Washington Wire post from Wall Street Journal economics reporter extraordinaire Greg Ip:

College graduates earn more than high-school graduates, and that premium is a lot bigger than it was 20 years ago. There are numerous reasons but one might be that after rising for most of the postwar period, the share of the work force with college degrees stopped growing, constricting supply just as demand for highly skilled workers took off.

Earlier this decade, there were signs of a shift. Responding perhaps to both the college wage premium and the weak job market, the proportion of high-school students who enrolled in college the fall after they graduated rose from 61.7% in 2001 to 68.6% in 2005, the highest since data began in 1959. To be sure, many of those enrollees never finished college but on balance it suggested the supply of college graduates was about to head higher.

But last fall, the college enrollment rate dropped back to 65.8%, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this week.

Exactly why is unclear. The tighter labor market ought to have encouraged some kids to take jobs instead of go to college. But the report showed just 46% of high-school graduates were working last fall, down from 49.3% the prior year. The proportion unemployed but looking for work rose to 13.7% from 11.4%, and the proportion neither working, looking for work nor in college also rose, to 12.3% from 9.9%.

The failure to respond to incentives is, well, puzzling.

It could just be a statistical hiccup. Another possible half-assed blog explanation, drawn strictly from casual empiricism: the decline is due to a greater number of high school graduates taking a year off before entering college. There is a swath of upper middle-class kids who are either working or backpacking for a year instead of heading straight to school. But I have no idea about the magnitude of this trend.

Alternatives are solicited from readers.

posted by Dan at 11:45 PM | Comments (7) | Trackbacks (0)

On the optimistic side of cautious optimism

George W. Bush will put forward former US Trade Representative and Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick to become the next president of the World Bank. The FT's Krishna Guha and Eoin Callan report on the reactions:

Hank Paulson, the US treas­ury secretary, said he rec­ommended Mr Zoellick to the White House following consultations with the bank’s other shareholder governments. Mr Paulson told the Financial Times: “Bob Zoellick is someone who has a passion for development. He has trust, respect and support from all the regions of the world.”

Mr Paulson said Mr Zoellick would be able to build international consensus and get results. “He has got great energy and enthusiasm – he gets things done.”

Mr Zoellick, 53, a former US trade representative who is a senior official at Goldman Sachs, is a respected internationalist with extensive contacts in Europe, China, Latin America and Africa. He played a prominent role in the peaceful reunification of Germany and led efforts to revive the Doha trade talks round....

Mr Paulson said he did not come under serious pressure to open up the search process during talks with finance and development ministers.

“Even people who said that in theory they favour an open global search said, given the turmoil at the bank, ‘Please find someone who will have global support and can get appointed quickly so we can get the bank focused on its mission again’,” he said

A senior World Bank manager said there would be mixed feelings about Mr Zoellick’s nomination, with respect for his diplomatic skills offset by concern about his hard-driving management style. The manager said Mr Zoellick was “highly regarded” but seen as a “bit abrasive” with his staff.

“I think there is scepticism about Zoellick’s management skills,” he said.

I've heard this last concern voiced by others in the know. To wich I'd say the following:
1) Having seen and interacted with Zoellick in the past month, he strikes me as being on the calmer side of the DC heavyweight spectrum. He's smart, he knows he's smart, and he does not suffer fools gladly. By beltway standards, however, abrasive does not spring to mind.

2) A mix of diplomatic skills and hard-driving management is pretty much the recipe for the World Bank. Although Paul Wolfowitz did not cover himself in glory during his tenure, the Bank staff also acted in a manner that raised a number of red flags about inmates running the asylum. We'll see where the Bank goes from here.

Brad DeLong is pessimistic:
If Robert Zoellick had not served the Bush administration without distinction as Special Trade Representative and as Deputy Secretary of State, I would be enthusiastic about his World Bank President candidacy. But the fact that he has done nothing in his last two government jobs makes me wonder whether an alternative candidate should be found.
In the past, I've disagreed with DeLong about Zoellick on precisely this point. He's a thoroughly competent man who has served a thoroughly incompetent administration. When Zoellick served in a competent administration, he accomplished only some minor things -- like helping to reunify Germany.

Actually, by moving to the bank, Zoellick will provide an ideal "natural experiment" to test out Brad and my takes on him. So I extend the following challenge to DeLong: if, in three years time, Zoellick is judged as having been successful by, say, Ken Rogoff, William Easterly, and Dani Rodrik, DeLong will owe me 100 units of Special Drawing Rights. If they judge him a failure, I'll pay DeLong.

UPDATE: Philip Levy makes the case for Zoellick over at

posted by Dan at 11:18 PM | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)

A DVD extra for World News Tonight

If you watch ABC's World News Tonight tonight, there's a 50-50 shot I'll be in a story about President Bush's decision to impose additional sanctions against Sudan for its actions in Darfur. The point I tried to get across -- sanctions are unlikely to work in this instance because (in increasing order of importance:

1) The United States doesn't a large economic relationship with Sudan, and with pre-existing sanctions in place, there's not much left to cut off;

2) Conflict expectations between Sudan and the United States are already pretty high, so even if the sanctions were costly, Khartoum would be reluctant to concede anything substantive;

3) Sudan has a "white knight" (or "black knight" if you will) in the form of China. With that country pumping billions into the Sudanese economy, the U.S. financial sanctions are little more than a hiccup in their economic trajectory.

We'll see how well this gets communicated in seven seconds.

Here's some info that won't be in the story: whenever news networks do these stories, there's always a "b-roll" in which they show the professor walking across campus or working at his computer, etc.

I bring this up because if they show that footage tonight, I was typing this very sentence!!!!!

Exciting behind-the-scenese stuff, eh?

[Hey, how did that copy of All Politics Is Global get into the corner of the shot?--ed. Because I am that shameless.]

UPDATE: The good news is that I did indeed appear in the story. The bad news is that the b-roll did not. Curses!!

posted by Dan at 02:25 PM | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)

Monday, May 28, 2007

Hugo Chavez vs. the telenovela

According to CNN International, Hugo Chávez has declared war on yet another facet of Venezuelan life:

Venezuela's most-watched television station -- and outlet for the political opposition -- went off the air after the government refused to renew its broadcast license.

Radio Caracas Television (RCTV), which has been broadcasting for 53 years, was replaced by a state-run station -- TVes -- on Monday. The new station's logo began running immediately after RCTV went off the air.

Leading up to the deadline, police on Sunday used water cannons and what appeared to be tear gas to break up thousands of demonstrators protesting the government's decision to close the country's most-watched television station.

The protest began in front of National Telecommunications Commission headquarters after members of the National Guard seized broadcast equipment, including antennas, the result of a Supreme Court order on Friday....

Inside the studios of Radio Caracas Television, employees cried and chanted "Freedom!" on camera, AP reported.

"We are living an injustice," presenter Eyla Adrian said, according to AP. "I wish that tonight would never come."

President Hugo Chavez announced in January that the government would not renew the broadcast license for the station, long an outlet for opposition parties.

Chavez has accused the station of supporting the failed 2002 coup against him and violating broadcast laws.

He called the station's soap operas "pure poison" that promote capitalism, according to AP.

RCTV, which has been broadcasting for 53 years, is slated to be off the air at midnight. It will be replaced by a state-run station.

"To refuse to grant a new license for the most popular and oldest television channel in the country because the government disagrees with the editorial or political views of this channel, which are obviously critical to Chavez, is a case of censorship," said Jose Miguel Vivanco, executive director of Human Rights Watch.

"We have arrived at totalitarianism," said Marcel Granier, president of Empresas 1BC, which owns RCTV. (emphasis added)

In a war between Hugo Chavez and the telenovela, I'll take the telenovela every day of the week and twice on Sundays. Never mess with an art form that is capable of producing the likes of Salma Hayek.

In the Guardian, Ben Whitford goes to town on Chávez 's decision:

Chávez and his officials unilaterally branded the network coup-mongers and pornographers - the latter apparently a reference to the trashy but popular telenovelas that are standard fare on all the region's networks. No investigations, meetings or hearings were held to assess the station's failings; no evidence was presented, and the network was given no right of reply.

It wasn't until this March, three months after announcing its decision to revoke the station's license, that the government deigned to release a "White Book" giving an official account of the station's transgressions. More polemic than policy paper, the book only serves to underscore the arbitrary and politicized nature of the government's decision; RCTV is accused of a raft of minor sins, from sensationalizing its coverage of a recent murder to showing alcohol consumption during its coverage of a baseball game. RCTV had never previously received more than a warning for these violations; other stations guilty of the same or worse errors have been allowed to retain their licenses.

It's hard to see RCTV's closure - which was opposed by 70% of the Venezuelan people - as anything more than an act of political retaliation for the network's continuing, and increasingly isolated, resistance to the Chávez administration. While it's true that the country's media remains largely in private hands, most of the other opposition channels have allowed themselves to be cowed by Chávez's threats, and have substantially cut back their news and editorial coverage. Of the stations with national reach, only RCTV had remained an outspoken critic of the government; on Sunday night that voice, too, fell silent. (Claims that RCTV could stay on the air by switching to cable or satellite are disingenuous; even if the network survives, it will reach only a tiny fraction of its current audience.)

In pulling the plug on RCTV, Chávez appointed himself judge, jury and executioner; and in doing so, struck a dangerous blow against Venezuela's proud traditions of democracy and free speech. Worryingly, he did so as part of a wider campaign to stifle dissenting voices and independent views. Since coming to power, Chávez has pushed through a barrage of regulations designed to breed a compliant and uncritical media sector; organizations now face swingeing fines and license suspensions if they fail to meet vague and arbitrary "social responsibility" criteria, while draconian defamation regulations and "insult laws" make it illegal to show disrespect for government officials and institutions....

A few minutes after RCTV flickered off the air, a new network took its place: Venezuelan Social Television. The new public channel, run by Chávez appointees, will provide news and entertainment that is more palatable to Chávez's government; it will join a growing portfolio of state-owned channels that one government station chief says is part of Chávez's wider plan for "communication and information hegemony". The failure of the likes of Tariq Ali and Colin Burgon to recognize this as a blow to Venezuela's tradition of free speech shouldn't surprise anyone; Chávez is a past master at playing the international left to his own ends. The truth, though, is that this is one occasion when people on both the left and the right, as supporters of liberal democracy, should be prepared to cry foul.

posted by Dan at 12:43 PM | Comments (10) | Trackbacks (0)

That's right, I'm risking the wrath of the baseball gods

I've been holding off on the baseball posting for the first two months of the season, because, well, it's the first two months of the season. With Memorial Day weekend, however, comes a quick glance at the standings, and hey, what do you know, the Red Sox have an 11 1/2 game lead in the AL East and a 12 1/2 game lead over the Yankees.

Longtime Red Sox fans will recall 1978, in which the Red Sox frittered away an even larger cushion. However, over at Baseball Busings, David Pinto thinks history is unlikely to repeat itself:

Sure, nothing is set yet, but a big difference between now and 1978 is that New York was a lot of games back, but they were still a winning team. Today, the Yankees are much closer to Tampa Bay, Kansas City and Texas than they are to either Boston or wild card leader Detroit.
I'm a tad more wary than David: if you look at runs scored and runs against, the Yankees should have a better record than they do (UPDATE: In a later post, David re-evaluates his own position). And, for the record, the Red Sox ain't a .700 team either. With the wild card, the Yankees still have a fair-to-middlin' chance of making the playoffs (just like the Red Sox in 2004). The difference is that the Yankees can't experience another stretch like the past two weeks, or their season is done.

Fortunately for the Olde Towne Team, many of the intangibles have been going in the Red Sox direction:

1) Yankee manager Joe Torre has lost his magic touch at right around the same time that Terry Francona acquired greater quantities of management acumen. Now a lot of this is luck, but some of it is Francona managing the bullpen better than Torre.

2) Opposing players are ripping Yankee fans and praising Red Sox fans (to be fair, the player in question used to play for the Red Sox). This rant provides some supporting evidence.

3) Red Sox Nation is expanding into China.

4) Seven words: back to back to back to back.

5) For a savior, Roger Clemens is taking his own sweet time getting back to the majors. It now apeears that he is going to miss the Sox-Yankees series later this week. With only six games remaining between the two teams after this week, one wonders just how much of an impact he can have.

6) In sharp contrast, the Red Sox "savior" is a 22-year old cancer survivor who, in the span of six months, has gone from undergoing chemotherapy to throwing curveballs. When he returns to the team, he's slotted as the fifth starter.

Those last two points highlight the real reason the Red Sox are doing so well -- they have a more good, young pitching at their disposal and in the pipeline.

The best long-term news, however, is contained in this AP story:

Despite constant speculation about manager Joe Torre's job, New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner says someone else also needs to deliver as the team looks to reverse its floundering start: general manager Brian Cashman.

"He's on a big hook," a spirited Steinbrenner told The Associated Press in a rare interview from this Tampa office. "He wanted sole authority. He got it. Now he's got to deliver."....

"The boss is the boss,'' Cashman said before Friday night's game against the Los Angeles Angels. "There are no surprises here. He's said this to me privately."

Cashman agreed with Steinbrenner's assessment.

"I'm on the hook. You can't describe it any better than that," Cashman said. "It's my job to figure it out.

Please, please, pretty please with sugar on top, let George fire Cashman. He's made some short-term mistakes as GM (I believe Cashman is officially the only person in the known universe who believed that Carl Pavano would be healthy all season -- and this includes Pavano). Long-term, however, he's started to restock the farm system and shed grumpy old ballplayers. The best thing that could happen to the long-term plans of the Red Sox is if Steinbrenner fires Cashman in favor of a Steinbrenner toady. At that point, I bet you that the new GM would trade Philip Hughes, Jose Tabata, and Melky Cabrera for Johan Santana.

In which case, there will be seven fat years for the Sox, and seven lean years for the Yankees.

posted by Dan at 09:27 AM | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)